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Tulane professor to be NSF dean-in-residence, and other news of higher education

Tulane professor to be NSF dean-in-residence Brian Mitchell, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Tulane University, has been named the Council of Graduate Schools/National Science Foundation Dean-in-Residence for 2015-16. Mitchell, who served as Tulane’s associate provost for graduate studies and research from 2006 to 2014, will assume the position Feb. 1. He will… Continue reading →

Morris Jeff School moves into new $29 million home in Mid-City

Photo provided by The Lens/Marta Jewson --  Second grade teachers check out a model classroom on their first day inside their new school.

A yellow sticky note with the word “Sears” scribbled on it identified veteran teacher Erin Sears’ new classroom. “Welcome to my room,” she said, beaming at the doorway as she greeted her fellow second-grade teachers late last month. Sears and about 80 other educators at Morris Jeff Community School were taking a first look… Continue reading →

Can schools create gifted students? One La. district gives extra support to high-potential minority students

Sally Meredith’s reading class looks different from most at Albert Cammon Middle School in St. Rose. Meredith, an eighth-grade teacher at the school, doesn’t spend her fifth-period reading class helping her 13-year-old students through difficult passages or having them read aloud. Instead, she largely lets her students take charge in debates over questions she… Continue reading →

Six candidates apply to be Jefferson schools superintendent

Michelle Blouin-Williams

Six candidates have applied to replace James Meza as superintendent of Jefferson Parish Public Schools, and the School Board president promises the selection process will be open and transparent. Cedric Floyd said the exact shape of the process will be determined in the next week. He said there still could be other applicants because… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish schools deputy superintendent applies for top job

About 30 days after the Jefferson Parish public school system began its search for a new superintendent, the outgoing superintendent’s hand-picked successor submitted the first application for the job. The system received an application from Deputy Superintendent Michelle Blouin-Williams on Wednesday evening, School Board President Cedric Floyd said. Applications must be postmarked by Thursday,… Continue reading →

Orleans School Board finally chooses new superintendent

Henderson Lewis Jr.

After almost three years under what was supposed to be temporary leadership, locally controlled public schools in New Orleans finally are set to get a new, permanent superintendent. The Orleans Parish School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to select East Feliciana Parish Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. to run the schools in New Orleans that remain… Continue reading →

In New Orleans, new trend hints at why charter schools banding together, becoming less independent

Something is happening to the independent charter schools that have taken over public education in New Orleans — they’re becoming a little less independent. No, they aren’t rushing back to the elected board that used to govern all of the city’s public schools. But charters in New Orleans are more and more finding themselves parts of… Continue reading →

Tulane University awards 564 degrees to fall graduates

Master of Architecture: Whitney Grace Jordan. Master of Preservation Studies: Michelle Anne Brenner, ZoAnn Marie Campana, Christopher Michael Cody, Philippa Jane Eden, Amy Elise Ferguson, Margot Alexandra Ferster, Kendall Alexandra Graham, Katherine Hitt Kenwright, Anna Carolina Pernas, Sofia A. Savchenko, Caitlin Worley Sheehan, Phillip… Continue reading →

Ex-Jefferson School Board member: Board’s vote was meant to embarrass him

Mike Delesdernier

In December, at his last meeting as a Jefferson Parish School Board member, Michael Delesdernier voted in favor of reimbursing himself for legal fees he incurred in a case he opened against a colleague, but then he returned the check of $14,750.85 that he received as a result of the affair. A School Board… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board rescinds check to ex-member for legal fees

Mike Delesdernier

About a month after the Jefferson Parish School Board permitted a now-ousted member to vote to reimburse himself for legal fees incurred in a case he opened against a colleague, the board decided Wednesday night to rescind a check of more than $14,000 generated by the affair. Michael Delesdernier in December voted to have taxpayers foot… Continue reading →

Board approves tax break for Drew School renovation

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH-- RSD received permission from the Industrial Development Board for a PILOT that will allow it to complete repairs on Drew Elementary School in New Orleans, La. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

The Recovery School District won approval Tuesday for a complex financial maneuver that will help it pay for the renovation of a St. Claude Avenue elementary school. The city’s Industrial Development Board granted the school district’s request for a 10-year payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, on the property that will allow the district to… Continue reading →

Finalists for Orleans schools superintendent will interview again Wednesday

Two finalists for superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board’s relative handful of public schools will have their last scheduled interviews with the board on Wednesday. Board members will interview Debbra Lindo and Henderson Lewis Jr. in executive session . Members of the public will have a chance to meet the candidates Wednesday night… Continue reading →

Xavier provost leaving for California, and other news of higher education

Loren Blanchard, the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Xavier University, is leaving for a job at California State University, according to a statement from Xavier. Blanchard, a Xavier alumnus, will depart for his new position in July. He will serve as executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at CSU. Before… Continue reading →

Attorney general sides with RSD in fight with School Board over John McDonogh

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Students leave John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, La. Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.

In an opinion issued last week, the state attorney general said the Recovery School District, not the Orleans Parish School Board, has control over the empty John McDonogh High School. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had sought the opinion because the two boards that oversee most schools in New Orleans were squabbling over… Continue reading →

Rex foundation gives $860,000 to educational groups

The Rex Organization’s charitable foundation awarded $860,000 in grants to 48 local educational groups Saturday. The Pro Bono Publico Foundation, formed by the Carnival organization after Hurricane Katrina, gave its largest grant, $50,000, to the Greater New Orleans chapter of Teach for America, the program that recruits college graduates to teach for two years in low-income… Continue reading →

Second New Orleans charter school opts for return to local control

Lagniappe Academies on Friday became the second Recovery School District charter school to decide to leave the state-run district and return to the Orleans Parish School Board. The nonprofit board that governs the school voted unanimously to make the switch. Board member Dan Henderson said that after conversations with school CEO Kendall Petri, the board decided… Continue reading →

Audit cites shortcomings in UNO’s financial records

For the second year in a row, state auditors say the University of New Orleans had “several significant errors” in its annual financial report. A 15-page report released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera found UNO’s accounting for the fiscal year that ended June 30 failed to remove from the books millions of dollars worth of… Continue reading →

Louisiana higher education news: Tulane center to study New Orleans education reforms

Photo provided by Dillard University -- The Rev. Earnest Salsberry, a Dillard alumnus, has been named as the university's chaplain.

Dillard University has appointed the Rev. Earnest Salsberry as university chaplain and director of the VisionQuest program. Salsberry, a Dillard graduate, has served as interim chaplain and director of VisionQuest for several months and will begin his new role in January. “We are so excited… Continue reading →

Naming a superintendent just one of many issues before new Jeff School Board

Superintendent James Meza; Chief Academic Officer Michelle Blouin-Williams

Two months ago, Michelle Blouin-Williams seemed to be on an easy path to becoming the next superintendent of the Jefferson Parish school system. Now the system’s chief academic officer, she had the support of School Board members. She had the blessing of outgoing Superintendent James Meza, who promoted her to the district’s second-highest position and started… Continue reading →

New groups seek to amplify teachers’ voice without unions

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Franklin teacher Stephen Pearce, left, waits it out as the school's charter board meets in executive session over the issue of allowing teachers to unionize Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Kaycee Eckhardt, a former charter school teacher in New Orleans, has decidedly mixed feelings about teachers unions. She believes they play an important role in certain issues, including ensuring teachers aren’t overworked. But she worries they sometimes squelch teacher voices by insisting on a party line. “You can’t tell teachers what to say,” she said. “Unions… Continue reading →

Loyola honored for community service, and other news of higher education

President Barack Obama has honored Loyola University for the school’s community service efforts. The university has been included in the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, officials said. This is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, civic engagement and… Continue reading →

Tulane seeks financial aid, hopes to raise at least $1 billion

Photo provided by Wikimedia Commons -- Tulane University Gibson Hall

Tulane University is quietly soliciting donations for an ambitious fundraising campaign that aims to raise at least $1 billion, some of which may be used to improve financial aid and build new student housing and another campus dining hall. “We are clearly talking to many people who are very close to the institution about our goals,”… Continue reading →

N.O. school officials reach settlement in special education lawsuit; monitor to oversee reforms

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The new Orleans Parish School Board was inaugurated at Edward Hynes Charter School Monday January 14, 2013.The board is comprised of Nolan Marshall, Woody Koppel, Seth Bloom, Stanley Smith, interim superintendent (not a board member) Leslie Ellison, Sarah Usdin, Cynthia Cade and Ira Thomas.   .MAGS OUT / INTERNET  OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ JOHN McCUSKER

Lawyers representing a group of students and their families in New Orleans have reached a landmark deal with public school officials on improving special education services — a settlement that will require close scrutiny of practices among the city’s independent charter schools. If a federal judge approves the agreement, it would be the… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board member wants controversial vote changed

Michael Delesdernier

Michael Delesdernier, who is leaving the Jefferson Parish School Board next month after a failed re-election bid, raised eyebrows this week with one of his final acts as a board member, voting to have the school district reimburse the legal expenses he piled up in a dispute with another board member. Now, even though… Continue reading →

Jeff School Board member casts decisive vote to have board pay his legal fees

Michael Delesdernier

In what appeared to be a violation of the state’s Code of Ethics, a Jefferson Parish School Board member voted Wednesday night to reimburse himself for legal fees stemming from a case he brought against another board member. Michael Delesdernier’s vote to have taxpayers pay the roughly $8,000 in legal fees he racked up… Continue reading →